August 7, 2017

I guess anyone who follows The Daily Disney Diary has figured out by now that the word ‘daily’ does not necessarily mean daily.  By definition, it means when new things pop-up that I need to share or of course, if there has been another change to our vacation plans.  If you have read past entries, you know that we love to plan trips to Disney World and when we are 4 or 5 months out, we have some sort of shake-up.  We change the hotel, dining reservations, etc.  It’s kind of fun because you never know where we will end up.  We are staying at The Beach Club in January and have gone back and forth in switching to The Grand Floridian.  Once you’ve had the best it is so hard to go back.  Having said that, The Beach Club is beautiful and best of all, it’s at the back gate of Epcot.  You could almost roll over there if you had to : )  Since it will be cooler in January, we have just about decided that we will stick with it since the World Showcase gets so hot in the Summer.  We will really like walking around without the heat and crowds.  Plus, we can just hop on the boat and go eat at some of our favorite places at Hollywood Studios.  Let’s face it, Hollywood Studios has some bang up places to eat.  Since they started the new Minnie Van service for Disney’s Boardwalk Resort and Yacht and Beach Club Resort guests, we are going to give it a try and take it over to the Magic Kingdom.  We’ll let you know what we think!  Check out the link in our Disney New area on the main menu for details.

July 27, 2017

All I can say is ‘Disney World is on fire right now’!  It is hard to believe all of the changes that are coming.  We are so excited.  If you aren’t familiar with D23, it’s a large fan club for Disney.  Every year an expo is held; tons of new information comes out, including new things coming to Walt Disney World.  Everything seems to be moving toward space.  With the new Star Wars Land coming soon to Hollywood Studios, they have announced that there will be a new immersive Star Wars hotel.  You will actually see stars out your windows and be greeted by Droids and even be dressed in costume.  You become part of the experience.  I hate to admit that I’m not much of a Star Wars fan but I guess I better get on board quick if I want to take full advantage of all of these new things.  Epcot is also opening a new restaurant near the Mission SPACE ride that includes quite a similar experience.  Can’t wait for all of these new things!

July 17, 2017

It’s that time again.  Time to make reservations for our Winter trip to Walt Disney World.  We made reservations to stay at The Beach Club this time.  The Beach Club is right at the back gate of Epcot.  Since the weather will be mild, this will be an excellent opportunity to spend some time around the World Showcase.  It can get pretty hot in Spring and Summer.  We are all looking forward to lingering through the countries, watching films, and sampling food.  Shopping for unique finds is a huge bonus as well.  I enjoy collecting Christmas ornaments from different countries.  Can’t wait!

June 22, 2017

Hard to believe it has been so long since we have posted.  Things have been hectic around The Educated Mouse.  We have added a new Top Ten and also a news feed.  The Top Ten will feature top ten items around Walt Disney World (rides, resorts, food, snacks, etc.).  Our news feed will provide links to all the latest news related to all things Disney.  This page will constantly change and provide readers with the latest updates.  In addition, we will soon be adding a subscription to our site.  This will provide access to all Disney Units as well as constant email updates on new postings and any new material added to the site.

We recently returned from our annual trip to Walt Disney World in May.  For the first time we stayed at The Grand Floridian, and boy was it GRAND!  It is without a doubt a deluxe resort and honestly in a category all by itself.  We booked a lagoon view but ended up with a theme park view at no extra charge.  The highlight of each night was standing on our balcony watching the fireworks above the castle.  We could even hear the music.  We were so close to the Magic Kingdom, we could see Astro Orbiters and Space Mountain and even hear the train whistle!  As annual passholders, we had the opportunity to do a sneak peek of Pandora at the Animal Kingdom.  It was quite beautiful but a little bit of a crowded space.  We are happy to report that we both purchased Banshees as they are out of stock now : )  Flight of Passage was breathtaking!  Until next time ……

February 25, 2017

We haven’t posted in a few weeks as things have been very busy in the world of Disney.  We have been firming up our final plans for our May trip.  Most people who vacation at Disney World simply show up and ‘play it by ear’.  However, we discovered many, many years ago that ‘playing it by ear’ at Disney World can make for an unpleasant trip.  Nobody likes to be at a crowded park on a hot summer day with food lines out the door filled with tired, hungry kids.  For this reason, we plan carefully and make dining plans and a basic schedule out for every day that we are there.  We are only a few weeks away from making our fast pass arrangements and we are very glad to have that figured out.  We were planning to spend our first day at Carribean Beach because that’s our driving day.  We got a message that the Carribean Beach will be under construction on that date and the food court will be closed.  So I’m excited to announce that we are switching to Pop Century.  We love, love, love Pop Century.  I hope to do a blog post on Pop Century very soon.  Stay tuned.

February 3, 2017

Today is what we refer to in our WDW travel circle as “dub didge.” Translated in layman’s terms….double digit. This means we moved from 100 days until we travel to “The Happiest Place on Earth” to 99 days! We vowed this year when we reached “dub didge” that we would watch one Disney animated or live action film every day until we leave. We are starting in chronological order with Disney’s first animated feature, Snow White (1937). We’ve only got about 712 to go! Watching Disney movies before we travel to WDW has always been a rite of passage for our family, but it usually occurs one month before we leave. This year we feel we need a daily dose of Disney for the next 99 days! Very exciting!

February 2, 2017

We have recently heard rumors that ‘Rivers of Light’ may be opening this April and we couldn’t be more excited.  Since it is only a rumor, we are planning 2 different options for the situation.  One thing is for sure, when ‘Avatar’ is finally open along with the ‘Rivers of Light’, it will be spectacular.  It always helps to have several options just in case.  The only thing that may put a kink in your options is making dining reservations.  You have to reserve them with a credit card and may be charged a fee if you do not cancel them on time.  So dining needs to be fairly set in stone.

January 26, 2017

We have been trying to get a reservation at Tony’s in the Magic Kingdom for weeks now.  Don’t know why there was nothing available but now it is wide open.  We went back and forth about when to eat.  If you eat too early, then you have to try and get in all of your riding ahead of time.  Nobody wants to ride the teacups full of spaghetti.  We went with 7:30.  This is about right.  We like to wake up bright and early to arrive at the parks the minute the rope drops.  You go hard for a couple of hours, eat lunch, and then go back to your hotel to relax and swim.  Then get ready for the evening and head to the parks about 5-5:30.  That gives you about 2 hours to ride or walk around and then eat at 7:30.  It usually takes an hour or so to eat and that puts you out at about 8:30 to find your spot for fireworks or a parade. Or, you may want to make a beeline for the gate to beat the rush.  I’m just really excited about Tony’s because we have never eaten there.  The theme of Lady and the Tramp is just magical.

January 25, 2017

I pondered all day thinking of all of the free activities that Disney World has to offer and I was shocked at all of the things there are to do that really feel like Disney without the cost.  You can save a lot of money by getting a ticket with less days and spending several days taking in the ‘free stuff’.  I think the best way to tackle this is giving you a list starting with my favorite.  I am going to post it as a blog with pictures so be on the lookout.

  1. Disney Springs – Walking around Disney Springs is much like a Disney park without the admission.  You get all of the sites and sounds of Disney but are free to come and go.  What was the Market Place and Westside, along with the old Pleasure Island, now make up Disney Springs.  There is Disney music piped in with Disney merchandise everywhere.  The grounds are a sight to see as well.  It would take you 2 days to see all of Disney Springs.
  2. Animal Kingdom Lodge – You don’t have to spend the money going to the Animal Kingdom Park, take a trip over to the Animal Kingdom Villas, Kidani Village. You’ll find a beautiful observation deck with outdoor fireplace. If you can find out when they put the food out for the animals, you may get a up-close encounter with some of the Savannah animals and birds.
  3. Art of Animation – This hotel is like walking into a cartoon.  Walking from the Cars area, Lion King area, Nemo, and Little Mermaid areas are themed just as the cartoons appear.  The best time to walk around the hotel is at dusk into the night.  The lights are so beautiful and it is a great place to take pictures.
  4. The Boardwalk – The Boardwalk Resort is just what you would imagine.  It mimics a boardwalk with pizza, vendors, magicians, and other characters.  The view is stunning with a view of Crescent Lake and the Yacht and Beach Club Resort.  The bridge between the Boardwalk and Beach Club is an excellent place to take in Illuminations at Epcot.
  5. The Polynesian Village Resort – This resort is one of the original hotels built when Disney World first opened in 1971.  Although it was recently renovated, the lobby is reminiscent of the 1970’s and will take some visitors back in time.  Walking around the grounds, you can take in Hula Dancers in the lobby or the Fire Dancers each day at 5:00.  The dock at The Polynesian Village is a great place to watch the Magic Kingdom Fireworks with accompanying music piped into the speakers on the dock.  You can also see the Electrical Water Pageant from this dock.
  6. Fort Wilderness – This place is chocked full of things to see.  You can take the bus around the property and stop in to see the horses that are used for various things throughout the Magic Kingdom.  Fort Wilderness takes you back to the Davy Crockett days which Walt himself loved so much.

These are just the free places to go.  There are so many hotels that are spectacular with wonderful activities.  If you are staying at a Disney World Resort, you will have no problem getting around these properties.  I’ll spend another day to talk about all of the free things that you can do once inside the parks.

January 24, 2017

So excited today to find out that Emeril Lagasse will be on the Cooking Channel to review several Disney Springs restaurants.  The show first aired on 1/21 but will re-air on 1/26 and 1/27.  We have eaten at so many; however, he will review STK Orlando, The Boathouse, and Homecoming.  Of the 3, we have eaten at The Boathouse and Art Smith’s Homecoming, both are truly fantastic and unique.  If you are a fan of iced tea and fried green tomatoes, you must eat at Homecoming.  The atmosphere is out of this world.  There is nothing better than making a reservation right when the doors open for lunch, sitting on the back porch sipping on some iced tea, and soaking in that Florida sun on a beautiful Spring day.  I get so excited talking about it, I can hardly contain myself.  One thing many people don’t know about Disney World is that you can do free things at Disney that feel just as much steeped in Disney as the parks and events.  I’ll fill you in tomorrow.

January 23, 2017

One day closer to Disney World and we couldn’t be more excited.  There are always the three amigos who make the trek to Disney World each May when school gets out.  Since both of us work at the same college and teach online, we leave in early May.   We always go through the same thing once the reservations are made; we change them.  We start looking at our hotel (and most we’ve stayed at multiple times) and begin to rethink what might be a better place to stay.  Well, we did it again.  Our original reservation was for Port Orleans French Quarter and now we are at the Grand Floridian.  We’ve never stayed there but here we go.  Once we make the switch, we’ll watch a million YouTube videos to confirm our decision.  The bottom line is, any hotel on Disney properly is a gem.  We can find something so special and magical about each one that we would honestly be happy any where.